Tolerance And A Bike Lock At Berkeley

Why anyone wants to hear the words that come out of Ann Coulter’s mouth are beyond me. She lack’s Milo’s fabulousness and sense of style, and he’s little more than an empty provocateur. If Coulter twitted at you under a ‘nym, you would dismiss her as a nutjob, one of the myriad crazies that inhabit social media twitting stupid stuff.

But somehow, she became “someone,” and so she was invited to speak at Berkeley by two conservative campus organizations, the Young Americans for Freedom and the Republican Club. Whatever. If they want to listen to this dolt, who cares?

It’s not about the dolt, however, but about trolling the Antifa.

In explaining why it had canceled a speech by Ann Coulter scheduled for next week, the University of California, Berkeley, said that it had “very specific intelligence” that Ms. Coulter might be in “grave danger.”

To Ms. Coulter and her supporters, it was another example of Berkeley showing intolerance of any opinions other than the liberal ones it is famous for. But the university that championed free expression in the 1960s has become known, in the polarizing first months of the Trump presidency, as something more: a meeting ground for those wanting to express themselves with wooden clubs and fists.

There are two distinct perspectives here. One perspective is that the free speech and association aspect of the First Amendment must be upheld. Even Bernie Sanders came out in favor of letting the dolt speak,

Obviously Ann Coulter’s outrageous ― to my mind, off the wall. But you know, people have a right to give their two cents-worth, give a speech, without fear of violence and intimidation.

Upon hearing this, some of Bernie’s supporters rushed to prove their existence defied Darwin, decrying Bernie as a Coulter supporter, as if he just endorsed Hitler. Which brings us to the second perspective, that of the Antifa.

Leftist activists on and off campus, including a loosely organized group calling itself Antifa, for “anti-fascist,” are threatening to do anything they can to block Ms. Coulter from speaking. Right-wing supporters are gathering support on Facebook, making plans to come to the campus to defend her.

“Our basic thing is to send a loud and clear message that this is not acceptable on our campus,” said Hoku Jeffrey, a Berkeley graduate and national organizer for By Any Means Necessary, a group that took part in previous demonstrations that turned violent. “We will not tolerate anti-immigrant bigotry or bigotry of any kind, which is the only thing she’s here to do.”

And they will send that “loud and clear message” By Any Means Necessary. No, they don’t grasp the hypocrisy of waging their war against bigotry by being bigots against differing viewpoints. But if you’re going to be blind, why not be violent too.

It’s one thing to destroy property. It’s another to hide behind rocks and lash out at another person by striking them, whether by a punch, pepper spray or a bicycle U-lock. But there remains a lower level of cowardliness and hypocrisy that is concealed by the relatively benign description of these warriors for Justice.

From a person who wears a black mask and calls some gutless wonder who hits a guy on the head with a U-lock “one of our own” who keeps the “fascists” and “nazis” off campus, he’s getting scared for his own safety? Maybe he should have gone to the Science March and learned about cause and effect. Oh wait, that wasn’t the sort of science they were talking about.

But I digress. The Antifa adherent asked an important question: How can we be safe? Some immediate thoughts come to mind. Stay home. Don’t be violent. Meet the speech you hate with your own speech, and try your darndest to be less of a flaming nutjob than the person you hate.

Problem solved? Hardly. From the conflation of really stupid ideas, beginning with “speech is violence” and harms the deeply sensitive as badly ass, maybe worse than, than actual violence, which filtered through as a justification for the use of physical violence to silence disagreeable speech. The grownups haven’t merely lost control, but are actively responsible for the insanity, whether by fostering it in their charges or wielding the U-lock.

It’s alleged that the coward in the video who struck, or as the New York Times calls it, walloped, a guy on the head is a professor, Eric Clanton, who teaches ethics at Diablo Valley College. Rather than give pause to the Antifa, to consider the insanity of inflicting physical harm to silence the speech of dolts, it compels them to push harder for their cause.

This will get worse if it doesn’t end. Violence begets violence. And someone will die. Maybe a lot of people. Over the likes of Ann Coulter and Milo and the pain they inflict on the deeply passionate who can’t grasp that they are the fascists. Once again, Walt Kelly has been proven right.

There is no amount of rhetoric or passionate outrage that explains this or will resurrect the dead, murdered to silence offending voices. Stop the angry, smug, self-righteous, insanely ignorant children before they kill. Or get killed.

25 comments on “Tolerance And A Bike Lock At Berkeley

  1. Richard Kopf


    Apparently, Antifa pays little attention to the news. Had the ardent anti-fascists kept abreast of current events the group would have been heartened by the headlines. “This breaking news just in, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead!” Source: Weekend Update, C. Chase.


    1. SHG Post author

      Don’t blame the Antifa. Blame their grandparents for not alerting them to Weekend Update’s breaking stories.

      1. Richard Kopf


        Really! Grandparent shaming?

        I suppose slut shaming comes next. “Jane, you miserable anti-fascist slut.”

        Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?

        All the best.


        1. Jim Tyre

          Judge Kopf,

          You should be wary of using material from the Original Flavor SNL. Today’s kidz, they just wouldn’t understand.

          Oh. That’s right. You don’t care.

          1. Richard Kopf


            I don’t care, you assert. Then why do I regularly consult Daily Affirmations With Stuart Smalley?

            In short, I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me! And let me tell you, James, that’s true for young and old fascists and anti-fascists alike.*

            All the best.


            *I admit that fascists like me somewhat more. But that’s OK. Indeed, it just goes to show you, it’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.

  2. Allen

    Berkeley has their own CIA now with it’s “specific intelligence” gathered? That’s a trip. I’m still trying to process the idea of anyone getting worked up about Ann Coulter either way. I’m not sure which might be the stranger proposition.

    I don’t know why they need all these other folks involved, just send out invitations for a rumble.

      1. Allen

        I doubt the Antifa people would respond well to choreography direction. The young republican types, absolutely.

      2. JimEd

        Do you know how hard/impossible it is to cast West Side Story these days?

        “I need 10 boys who can sing and not look like newborn giraffes on a tile floor when they dance.”

    1. B. McLeod

      It isn’t Ann Coulter so much as the principle that totalitarianism (in this case, the “Antifa” brand) demands the suppression of anyone and anything that doesn’t hew to the party line. So there would be the same issues with a small, spotted fox terrier rumored to have said something bad, or written something bad, or perhaps simply known to have conspicuously failed to wear the “Antifa” colors in a public setting.

  3. LTMG

    Daffy definitions: Fascist = nazi or Nazi = someone who strongly disagrees with me. Totalitarian = someone in charge who is more influential than I and with whom I disagree. Science = fancy dress for my beliefs. Justice = when people who share my beliefs prevail. Gender = malleability. Truth = see Gender.

  4. John Barleycorn

    I don’t know esteemed one, Ann is a pretty big deal. You better just think this whole Berkley thing through…

    Everyone knows she is already on the short list to replace Sean Spicer.

    I mean sure, thankfully, not as of yet has everyone in the entire country been subjected to her sitting on Bill O’Reilly’s face, while Kenny Rodgers & The First Edition Band play Just Droped In (to see what condition my condition is in) live in the background.

    BUT, everyone has to pay the bills.
    AND if Antifa were to just stand down, there is no way in hell that Ann is going to get Sean’s job.

    And then what do you have?

    I mean think about it!

    Fighting speach with speach is one thing but if the whole nation has to start fighting porn with porn, just because Antifa stood down, then what are you going to have?

  5. Matthew S Wideman

    I am surprised more people are not being stabbed or shot during these protests. The cops seemed to not care policing the crowd or stopping the escalation. I would not be surprised if I woke up tomorrow and read about a running gun battle after a Conservative spoke.

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  7. LocoYokel

    Let me get this straight. She’s scared because a person who committed aggravated assault got identified? Shouldn’t she be more scared if they didn’t?

      1. LocoYokel

        Sorry, I just presumed a female posted that, my bad.

        I don’t hate them, I just don’t understand them, but to each their own. God* will sort them all out in the end.

        *whichever one you care to claim.

  8. Charles

    From the Google-cached page of Diablo Valley College (

    “Eric has been teaching at DVC since 2015. He teaches introduction to philosophy with a background in teaching ethics, critical thinking, and comparative philosophy East/West. His primary research interests are ethics and politics. His work in political philosophy also centers on mass incarceration and the prison system. He is currently exploring restorative justice from an anti-authoritarian perspective.”

    So maybe he was doing a research project on how a lack of ethics and critical thinking resulting in time spent in the prison system could entitle one to restorative justice? From an anti-authoritarian perspective, of course.

  9. Bert

    Let me start by saying that I’m a liberal living in a conservative town in conservative Louisiana. I am familiar with some of the tactics of the right which appear to be getting worse by the minute. However, we are not at the point where the tactics used my younger liberal friends are necessary or helping at all. Most of the social change in this country have been the result of long non-violent struggles. When violence is employed as a tactic, it only makes the other side more intolerant and less likely to listen to reason. The reason why is simple. If law makers, collegiate boards or police etc. make changes because of the fear of violence repercussions then it will only promote violence as a means to solving all of our problems. This is why the United States has an official policy of not bargaining with terrorist when they kidnap a citizen.
    The only thing this whole Berkeley/Ann coulter affair has accomplished is making that bitch Coulters richer. Had she just been quietly allowed to give her silly speech in front of a handful of Berkely conservatives plus liberal hecklers, it would be over and considered uneventful. Ann Coulter doesn’t have the charisma or speaking ability to turn anyone with a drop of liberal blood over to the dark side. However, when their are reports of liberals engaged in threats or the use of violence in order to suppress the first amendment, people who consider themselves independent or moderate might be sympathetic to the dark side.
    I’m sure most liberals are familiar with the Weather Underground. While i’m not trying to belittle the current battle we liberals face, if I am being completely honest, I admit they were fighting a much bigger war. Racism was not only more rampant, it was institutionalized despite the Civil Rights Act. Also, unlike today, they were doing battle with a country that forced teenagers to enlist in the armed services and kill on command through a supposedly impartial draft. The “impartial” draft just happened to select the impoverished and minorities at a much higher rate than those of means. With age comes wisdom and while most members of the Weather Underground are still very much liberal, they admit regretting many of the crimes they committed. The members still serving prison terms regret the crimes even more.

    1. SHG Post author

      Ordinarily, this would be the sort of comment more appropriate for reddit than here. But your Weather Underground analogy was interesting. While the comparison is flawed, you’re right that it proved violence to be not just ineffective, but counterproductive. The difference here, as you note, is that the Weathermen fought a far more serious war than the petty word-hurt of the Antifa, reducing the moral imperative of its violent tactics to an even worse choice. Had they let Coulter speak unmolested, nobody would have cared and no mind would have changed.

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